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Virgin America Will Launch Its First WiFi-Enabled Plane November 22
Virgin America will debut its version of Aircell-provided Gogo in-flight wireless internet on a special "beta" flight above San Francisco on November 22. After the event--which promises the first-ever live air-to-ground video stream via YouTube--the airline will roll out WiFi on one plane a week, until its entire fleet has the amenity by the second quarter of 2009.
Notably, Virgin won't be adding any content filters. Spokeswoman Abby Lunardini tells Jaunted exclusively:
Our policy is to not edit any in-flight entertainment content ... this policy will extend to WiFi content. There will be certain bandwidth constraints (no Skype, VoIP, etc.), but basically, we’re not in the business of editing what people want to watch--and believe we should be giving guests more options rather than fewer when they fly.
Abby also points out that many VA passengers already use laptops in-flight thanks to the carrier's under-the-seat power plugs. There's yet to have been a problem with "inappropriate content" that people carried on via, say, hard drive or DVD, she says.
Pricing will be the standard $10 on short flights, $13 on longer legs.
Later in 2009, Virgin says, the airline will integrate its in-flight entertainment system, RED, and Gogo, offering passengers without laptops or WiFi-enabled smartphones or PDAs a certain level of connectivity.